Of Runs, Cops and Dopamine
The thing about running that gets me out of bed in the morning is its ability to clear my head. Usually, I get distracted easily. It’s extremely hard for me to focus on one thing for more than ten minutes. Say I am immersed in a beautifully written book with gripping plot. After a short while, especially when the plot takes a sudden twist, I’ll find myself wondering if I left the iron box on. Or say I am in the middle of an intense meeting, the ones where the client really wants you to stroke their ego. When the client turns to me and says something like “Don’t you agree with me, Joy?” I start to wonder if I forgot my lunch in the fridge at home and suddenly I get a panic attack. But, when I am running, it is unbelievable how high my concentration span gets. As I start my run, I will pick one thaughty/idea and I will turn it over in my head and run with it until the end. My thought process is continuous and clear.
There’s also the other motivation, one that many of you will agree with. The hope that the waistline will be one centimetre narrower after burning those evasive calories, and maybe finally I can have that hourglass body I have been dreaming of. After every run, I get home and imagine that I can finally fit in the blue chinos that I last wore six months ago only to step into them, pull them up and they adamantly refuse to go past the knees.
But you know what I love most about running? A GOOD run. A run that exceeds my expectations, reminding me of the Adidas slogan “Impossible is nothing.” That run where I get to the planned 10kms and I decide to increase the mileage by another three kilometres, just because I can. Or the one where I aspire to set a new time record and I do exactly that. I love those runs where I literally have a spring in my step and I find myself attracting weird stares from other runners, only to realise I was singing aloud to Vybez Kartel’s Romping Shop. I love a GOOD run because it releases dopamine, a pleasure hormone that is stimulated when we strive towards a goal.
About two weeks ago, I had one of those fulfilling runs on a Tuesday morning. Later, as I drove to work , the traffic on Ring Road from Kileleshwa approaching Riverside Drive was outrageous. I couldn’t slide right into the inner lane, so I drove all the way up as if I was going to Raphta Road and stopped at the Junction to turn right. The cop flagged me, came to my windscreen and said to me “Sweetie, why are you overlapping?”
Usually, when cops pull me over, they give me the hump. It doesn’t matter if I am wearing my good luck Mac Rebel lipstick, or my skirt has ridden up my thighs. Traffic cops are naturally mean to me and at some point I was convinced that they are misogynists. But not on that Tuesday morning, when this dark-skinned pot-bellied officer came over to my window and flashed this beaming smile, his glimmering white teeth almost blinding me for a second. I blushed. He let me go with a warning, “Baby usioverlap tena.”
I drove off with a profound lesson lingering in my head. That when you have a good run, nothing can put you down. Not even the Kenya Police. The universe shows you love and the world is your oyster.
P.S. This week I hope to cover ten kilometres in slightly under an hour. I know, its long overdue but finally I have my head in the right place. Curious to know what your fitness goals are or what you have accomplished that you worked really hard to achieve. Please share in the comments section below.
Outfit from: Collabor Active Wear
Shoot location: Royal Golf Club
Images by: Royal Image Photography